WRITER GEOFF NELDER IS BACK WITH A NEW ONE–XAGHRA’S REVENGE–& IT’S DIFFERENT

 

Sci-fi thriller fantasy author Geoff Nelder is back on the blog with a new release from Solstice Publishing and it’s sooo different. XAGHRA’S REVENGE incorporates historical fiction, social commentary, adventure and revenge–all the things this blogger absolutely LOVES. Welcome back, Geoff!

I had a number of questions lined up for him, but in the author’s own words, he got a tad “carried away” and decided that one–and only one–question got to the heart of what he was trying to do this time out.

Here we go…

 

1.

XAGHRA’S REVENGE is an historical fiction piece focusing on something that, sadly, continues today–slavery. What is it in your past or psyche that facilitated the need to obtain social justice for the island’s inhabitants?

 

Geoff-IOM-12Never mind the past, I am a slave now! I don’t just mean marriage (Ed.- He dabbles in dry humor); I mean a slave to the economic system; a slave to society’s cultural mores and laws. I am a slave to my damn brain.

It’s a writer’s lot to own a rabid imagination and mine gets into the being of my characters so much so that I can’t escape. Of course, it’s not like the physical slavery of people being brought by force from one country to another to work.

I hadn’t come into contact with an actual slave or knew much about them before I went on a family holiday to Malta. There, I learnt with horror about the 1551 mass abduction by pirates of the entire island of Gozo. I couldn’t believe that cultured and intelligent people such as those pirate leaders could do that. We’re not talking about uncouth Hollywood pirates, but well-educated Muslims (Rais Dragut, who had himself been a galley slave to a Christian Templar Knight!) and Jews (Pasha) who have big, loving families at home. Yet, it was acceptable to them to abduct whole towns and islands, separate families, torture and kill for their meagre wealth, and then go home to their people. It’s another culture and history completely removed from what I was brought up with. Of course Dragut had religion on his side. If the abducted were righteous, their God will see them.

On Gozo, I discovered that not many people knew about the 1551 abduction. It gozocropsdidn’t happen to them or their ancestors because the emptied island was looted and reoccupied by people from Italy, Sicily, and Malta. The pirates were cunning enough to steal property deeds and sell them to the rich in Tripoli and Constantinople.

I found direct descendants of those Gozo abducted, but over in Tarhuna, Libya. They are still there! I could not find many people who felt strongly about that abduction so I had to do something on the victims’ behalf. My Xaghra’s Revenge is for those 5,000.

 

Excerpt from XAGHRA’S REVENGE

frontcoverXaghra is a real town on the small Mediterranean island of Gozo. I chose it to begin the story because I’ve been there many times. It’s the site of one of the world’s oldest buildings, The Ggantija Temple – older than the pyramids and Stonehenge! I’ve hugged those huge limestone blocks and the vibes touched me. I’ve stood in the spot where Stjepan hears the alarm bell, where he sees his friends chased by pirates, and outside his house. It’s personal.

This opening sets the story with a contrast and conflict: an idyllic rural and family scene versus a worrying incursion threatening to disrupt everything.

 

CHAPTER ONE from XAGHRA’S REVENGE

Published 15th July 2017 via Solstice Shadows, imprint of Solstice Publishing

 

The Mediterranean island of Gozo 1551, July 24th

 

Stjepan leaned on his hoe and listened. His beans needed rescuing from the bindweed, but they’d have to wait if that was the warning bell coming from the city.

Five… He stepped up onto a low limestone wall and scanned the horizon. A flock of starlings created an air sculpture – God’s chariots chasing each other. It always lifted his heart.

Six… The Citadel topped the hill to the west; the clock tower visible, but he couldn’t see if people were running up the lanes to the city walls.

Seven, eight… He strained to see, but hills prevented a clear view of the ocean even though Gozo was less than a day’s ride across.

Nine… Perhaps a pirate ship had been seen again. The damned Turkish corsairs raided more often these days. Pirate dogs. He spat at the soil. His short sword lay under his cot at home.

Ten… In spite of the heat, he shivered at the thought of his wife and four-month-old son thrown into the dank belly of a corsair galley.

Eleven, twelve… He held his breath as if that aided hearing. The starlings swirled around the citadel as if they knew something. His heart sank.

Thirteen, fourteen… curses.

He drove his hoe into the stony soil, wishing it was Dragut’s black heart. Stjepan picked his way through berry bushes and olive trees until he reached his village, Xaghra. Karlu, his neighbour, called as he walked in the opposite direction towards the capital, Rabat.

“Ho, Stjepan, you’ll get fined again.”

“I’m not going without Lidia and my son. Your wife?”

Karlu stopped, scratched his head and twitched his moustache. “In Rabat, staying at her mother’s. She’s been coughing up hairballs.”

“That’s cats. Ah, you never liked Senora Angelina. I’ll see you there.”

In spite of the humour, panic tightened his chest as he ran across the central square. Stjepan saw his marmalade cat, its tail upright. She possessed a sense for trouble. “Heket, you’re supposed to be Lidia’s guardian.”

He frowned pushing past neighbours then saw Lidia waving at him outside the church.

“Father’s tripped on the steps. He can’t walk to Rabat.”

“He’ll have to go on the priest’s cart.”

“Already gone.”

Stjepan gnawed on a knuckle while his brain raced. He couldn’t afford another florin fine, yet the alert was probably another false alarm.

“I’ll carry your father.” Blood seeped through Alfredo’s grey robe from his knee. His eyes apologised.

Stjepan crouched before the old man. “Come on, I’ll carry you on my back.”

They crossed the wide village square. Stjepan found the old man lighter than he expected. Nevertheless, he stopped.

“What about Calypso’s Cave?”

“No.” Lidia breathed heavily carrying infant Pietru. “It’d be too obvious a hiding place. Keep going.”

He did, with increased pace until he reached the top of the steep scarp slope. The lane wriggled as it fell to the valley floor before climbing the Citadel’s slopes an hour’s walk away. They could see the exodus along the most direct route from Xaghra to Rabat.

Lidia stopped. “No.”

“What?” He followed her free arm pointing to the north. A dozen men ran along the valley floor lane. Their scimitars flashed in the midday sun, and their white turbans gave them away as Turkish corsairs.

*  *  *

 

To read more of this chapter head over to Amazon Kindle

http://myBook.to/Xaghra

 

Free on Kindle Unlimited

 

Paperback

http://hyperurl.co/y953ga

 

There’s another excerpt from Chapter two where two modern young lovers have their inauspicious and suspicious first meeting.

 

Facebook page

http://www.facebook.com/xaghrasrevenge

Website

http://geoffnelder.com

Twitter

@geoffnelder

Amazon Author Page

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Geoff-Nelder/e/B002BMB2XY/

 

 

About the author

Geoff at Marton July2015Geoff Nelder has one wife, two grown-up kids, and lives in rural England within easy cycle ride of the Welsh mountains.

Publications: One humorous thriller Escaping Reality in 2005;
one award-winning science fiction, Exit, Pursued by a Bee in 2008;
another thriller, Hot Air, published in 2009 after receiving an award from an Arts Academy in the Netherlands; a science fiction trilogy, ARIA – starting with Left Luggage with an original premise, was published in 2012 by LL-Publications; and a fantasy, Xaghra’s Revenge, published by Solstice Publishing in July 2017.

Having had around 50 short stories published, Geoff was chosen to be the short fiction judge for the Whittaker Prize, 2009.

Geoff was a co-editor of science fiction magazine, Escape Velocity, and is a freelance editor.

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TEN AUTHORS, TEN DAYS: DAY FOUR: GLORIA WEBER

Short story maven and speculative fiction spécialiste Gloria Weber joins the blog today with an insightful interview as well as a tasty glimpse at what she’s getting up to. Don’t be fooled by the brevity of her bio: she uses her words with precision and packs ’em with pow! Oh, Gloria……

 

biography

Gloria Weber lives in Ohio with her husband, son, daughter, and many pets. She has been writing for publication since March 2006 with over a dozen titles published. Her favorite color is purple.

 

 

 

 

  1. Congratulations on your recent story success with Solstice Shadows short story contest. What was that Q & Alike?

I didn’t enter thinking, “I’m so gonna win this thang!”  Horror isn’t my go to genre.  So, I was a bit nervous and did my best to forget about it!  So, it was a complete surprise when I placed.  And that day I was having such a bad day that it really lifted my spirits.

  1. Both SUNLESS and ALICIA feature protagonists trapped into a silence that threatens their existence. Where does this theme come from?

Coincidence.  It wasn’t intentional in the slightest.  Though, I do tend to lean toward dark ideas/stories, sosolstice publishing that could be the root cause.

  1. You are a self described writer of speculative fiction. For you, what does that encompass?

To me speculative fiction is all about a or a set of “What if…” that changes our world.  It could be an CoverSunlessalternate societal structure or alternate history.  Though, more specifically for me it is the stuff genre fiction (Horror, Fantasy, and Science Fiction) is made of.

  1. Short story writing can be challenging for many of us. What draws you to this literary form?

I started in short stories.  Now a days, most people jump into novels feet first.  I tried that and never finished a bunch of them.  The first thing I finished was a short story.  It was also the first thing I had published.  It’s where I can lick my wounds and feel a sense of accomplishment.  It is what keeps me going.

  1. The color purple. Why?

purpleI was in 10th grade, months shy of having a driver’s license, before I decided I had a favorite color.  I like that it is made of warm and cold. It can be delicate and bold.  There isn’t a shade of it I hate, which I can’t say about other colors.

  1. Where can we find SUNLESS and ALICIA?

You can get both at Amazon, or more specifically SUNLESS at http://amzn.com/B014FVNRUE and ALICIA AliciaCoverathttp://amzn.com/B01417P1GA.

  1. What senses are most important to you when crafting a scene? (mine is sound)

Seeing is believing.  That is the one sense I never neglect in a draft.  The others… Poor things.  Thank goodness there are revisions.

  1. In short story writing, we are told that every word must count. Do you know how it ends before you begin?

Most of the time, I don’t have a clue.  Sometimes I might know what happens two years in these characters’ futures, but that doesn’t always equate to knowing when the story ends.  That’s what happened with ALICIA.  However, there are times I know how it ends, like with SUNLESS.  I knew the ending and the beginning, just not the middle bits.  My stories seem to stem from one point (if I’m lucky two) and I flesh out around it, until the story is whole.

  1. What’s next?

Well, SUNLESS releases the 15th (though, you can pre-order now).  Aside from that?  I have a few things in edits. I have a few things in slush piles.  I have something on the verge of being started.  Nothing definite.

  1. What and who do you read when you aren’t creating your own?

murder she wroteI’m not going to lie, first thing I reach for to start any reading session is a comic or graphic novel.  I’ve got a few Marvel Comics subscriptions and a pull list at my not-so-local comic store.  I tend to hold very little loyalty to authors, but am loyal to genres.  I’m a Romance junky, especially historical.  I have a Cozy Mystery love that I blame on MURDER SHE WROTE.  I tend to read more Fantasy than I do Science Fiction, but I get those in there, too.  As a special project, I try to keep a “classic” nearby to read when I have extra time, in order to fill in some of my “reading holes.”  Currently, for that, I’m reading Ray Bradbury’s R IS FOR ROCKET and before that it was George Orwell’s ANIMAL FARM.  Also intended audience doesn’t bug me.  I’ll just likely read an adult book as I would a Middle Grade one.

 

Thanks for the share Gloria. To know more about the author and her work visit her website. Now, tell us about ALICIA and SUNLESS…

 

AliciaCoverLeon has decided it is better to remain silent and accused of Alicia’s murder than admit the truth. The truth, well… that’s so unbelievable it’s crazy.  Not that Detective Dorndorf believes a word that comes out of Leon’s mouth. Dorndorf just wants a confession and figures dragging Leon to the last spot Alicia was seen might just pry it out of him.  Will the detective’s plan work or will the truth come out?

ALICIA Trailer: https://youtu.be/x1bS7xHoZZg

Price: $0.99

Sold At: Amazon (http://amzn.com/B01417P1GA) and Solstice Publishing’s website (http://solsticepublishing.com/alicia/)

 

CoverSunlessThe dark hides things. Threatening things. Dangerous things. Sitting in the windowless box of the detention room, Madison’s worst fears are realized as darkness grips her school.

SUNLESS Trailer: https://youtu.be/lzAt_Y2rb4U

Price: $0.99

Pre-Order At: Amazon (http://amzn.com/B01417P1GA)

Releases: September 15, 2015

 

 

Links Image

Website: http://gloriaweber.wordpress.com/

Twitter: @GloriaWeber ~ http://twitter.com/GloriaWeber

G+: http://plus.google.com/107706782152210234267/posts

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/GloriaWeberWriter

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/GloriaWeber

 

Thanks, doll. Keep us posted!

 

“It ain’t whatcha write, it’s the way atcha write it.”
—Jack Kerouac, WD

TOMORROW:

Author Howard Gleichenhaus will hold you in thrall with a thriller of a globe trotting, high stakes, spy v. spy boiler called SUBTERFUGE.

Howard Gleichenhaus
Howard Gleichenhaus

WOOT! WOOT! AUTHORS: SOLSTICE SHADOWS WANTS YOU!

CONTEST

First time authors have a hard time getting their first contract. Many of us have been there and it is discouraging to say the least.  Solstice Publishing has published many first time authors and are actively seeking fresh new writers to add to our Solstice family. Many authors got their foot in the publishing door by writing short stories.  This is a great way for authors to build their catalog while they work on their longer novels. At Solstice, we believe every book has a home. It may or may not be with us but we invite you to see if we’re the right home for your story.

Solstice Shadows publishes Fantasy, SciFi, Paranormal, Horror, and all sub-genres therein.  If you have a short story that falls into one of these genres, we welcome you to read on and consider entering our short story contest.

Official Contest Information:

Solstice Shadows wants to read your short stories!

Do you have a short story collecting dust?  Are you an aspiring author who wants to be published? Are you an established author who is willing to take risks? Are you a self-published author who wants to see what it’s like working with an Indie Publisher?

Solstice Shadows is hosting a short story contest starting June 1st through July 6th  2015.

* Accepted genres: Fantasy, SciFi, Horror, Paranormal, and all sub genres therein. (We do not accept non-fiction/overtly religious stories/pornography)

* Story length: Up to 20K words.

* The story cannot be currently for sale on any platform.

To Submit:

  • solsticepublishing.com/submission
  • Click on ‘Solstice Shadows’
  • Type “Shadows Short Story Submission” in the ‘Title’ box.
  • Your cover letter should tell a little about your story and a little about you.
  • Follow the directions for submitting your story.

Prizes:

1st place – A 3 year contract for the short story, A promotional video highlighting the book and author, and a FB release party hosted by Solstice Publishing.

2nd Place – A 3 year contract for the short story, a promotional video highlighting the book and the author.

3rd Place – A 3 year contract for the short story.

Winners will be notified by August 1st,2015 via email.

How will the stories be judged? Here’s what we’re looking for in no particular order:

  • Submission guidelines followed
  • A social media presence
  • An exciting first scene.
  • A clear and organized plot.
  • Interesting characters.
  • Engaging dialogue.
  • Correct grammar/punctuation
  • A satisfying conclusion to the story
  • A unique voice.

We hope you decide to enter and look forward to reading your stories.  If you have any questions, feel free to email us (solsticeshadows@gmail.com) or catch us on Twitter (@solsticeshadows)

Happy writing!